Facebook Brings Reels to its Main App as it Seeks to Capitalize on the Short-Form Video Trend
As TikTok continues to gain momentum, Facebook continues to seek new ways to quell that growth, with its latest attempted pushback coming via Facebook Reels, which will enable users to create and share Instagram Reels within the main Facebook app.
Currently, as you can see in the screenshot above, Facebook is testing a new Reels display unit within user feeds in the United States, which will aid in linking more people into its short video offering.
As reported by TechCrunch:
“Create and share short-form video material directly within the News Feed or within Facebook Groups will be made possible by the introduction of Facebook Reels. The “Create” option will first display in the Reels area of your News Feed, which will appear as you browse through the feed, while you are viewing Reels, or by pressing on the “Reels” icon at the top of your News Feed, as seen below. Users will be able to use a common set of production tools from this point on, including those for video recording, music selection, camera roll import, timed text, and other features as well.”
Additionally, Facebook is increasing its ability for Instagram Reels creators to post their Reels to Facebook, where those Reels will be shown alongside the individuals’ Instagram profile names.
It should come as no surprise that the company is expanding. Facebook has been experimenting Reels creation and sharing within Facebook over the past few months, which has also included an experiment with a new Stories/Reels/Rooms feed at the top of user feeds in an attempt to slow TikTok’s growth.
This new test is an extension of the tests Facebook has been running since March, with the first aspect being Reels material displayed on Facebook, and the second element being Reels production within the Facebook application itself.
This may be a big step forward. When it comes to short-form video, the upside is that it will introduce many people who do not already use TikTok to the process, which has shown to be increasingly interesting for many younger audiences, in particular. Because Reels is now available on Facebook, it is possible that large sections of older audience groups will be enticed to participate as well, which could lead to an increase in Reels usage. Additionally, the inclusion of the format within specific groups could help to maximize engagement and keep users posting their clips to Facebook and Instagram rather than moving to TikTok for the same experience.
It may also allow Facebook to take use of its presence in new areas in order to beat TikTok to the punch. If individuals can already communicate with their established networks via short-form video on Facebook, it is possible that they may be less motivated to download a new app and make new relationships.
Perhaps it will have little effect on TikTok’s development, which is still at the top of the download rankings, but it may have the effect of hastening it a little while simultaneously increasing Facebook’s own video engagement.
And Reels has seen solid engagement growth, despite being a direct TikTok clone. In the company’s most recent earnings call, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Reels had been the largest contributor to engagement growth on Instagram in the quarter. Which could alternatively suggest that Instagram growth is slowing in other areas, but either way, Reels has become a solid contributor, and is part of Instagram’s recent announcement that it’s ‘no longer a photo sharing app‘.
Short-form video engagement has grown increasingly commonplace, and by exposing more people to Reels, Facebook will better match itself with this transition, which may drive engagement growth and open the door to new options for users.
Depending on the level of adoption, this may potentially make it a more important factor for companies. It is possible that it will follow in the footsteps of Facebook Stories and become mostly ineffective. However, it is possible that it will wind up being a significant driver, in which case it would be worthwhile to keep track on those view counts and engagement statistics.
Starting today, a limited proportion of Facebook users in the United States will be able to see the new Facebook Reels display. It is currently available to a small percentage of Facebook users in India, Mexico, and Canada.
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